Wednesday July 29th. We have been here in A Coruna since last Thursday, rather longer than initially intended, but it’s a spacious and comfortable marina, A Coruna is an attractive, friendly city with lots to do and see, and we’ve had a few things to sort out with the boat.
When we arrived there was a medieval fayre taking place in the old city, the stallholders dressed in medieval garb, processions of men in tight mustard hose carrying brightly coloured flags, musicians, drummers and trumpets, and lots of bagpipes. Bagpipes seem to be played everywhere we go here and there has been a definite Celtic link to our travels so far, from Cornwall to Brittany and now Galicia, presumably due to maritime connections over the centuries.
We caught the train to Santiago de Compostela, the end of the 490 mile medieval route of pilgrimage, the Camina de Santiago. The apostle St James is reputed to be buried here and his remains lie in the Cathedral, huge, dark and sombre, but enlivened by a gold statue of St James in the nave. The architecture of the cathedral is apparently Spanish Romanesque, Gothic and Baroque and it was built in the 12th century. The old town is a maze of narrow streets so we spent a few hours wandering around and some time sitting in the sun with a beer and tapas. On the day we arrived there was a demonstration going on which we were careful not to get caught up in. The last time we did so was in Sofia where we joined a jolly looking procession which turned out to be an extreme right-wing protest. This one however appeared to be all inclusive: anti-government, anti-pension cuts, anti-austerity, anti-emigrants not paying tax. Galician flags abounded, white with a light blue diagonal.
The regional architecture includes glassed-in balconies known as galerias, some wonderful examples of these are on the city marina in A Coruna. Another of the local must-see tourist sites is the Tower of Hercules, an ancient Roman lighthouse at the entrance to A Coruna harbour. It fell into ruin, doubtless in medieval times, and was restored in the 18th century. Being good tourists we climbed to the top and took each other’s photos. There was a busker playing the bagpipes, badly, on the path up to the Tower.
We are off now to the Rias with favourable winds to take us South.